UK Suffers Heartbreaking Five-Set Loss
Oct. 10, 2008
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The 25th-ranked Kentucky volleyball's valiant comeback effort against the ninth-ranked Florida Gators came up just short as they fell 3-2, at the O'Connell Center Friday night. Florida took an early 2-0 set lead and with their backs against the wall, the Wildcats fought back to force a fifth and deciding set, but the home squad prevailed for the victory. Florida claimed the match by the scores of 25-21, 25-21, 16-25, 21-25, 15-8.
The loss snaps a 12-match winning streak and it is also the first loss of the season in the Southeastern Conference for the Blue and White. Kentucky (15-3, 6-1) got a tremendous effort from Winter Park, Fla., native Sarah Mendoza who led the team with 16 kills and 11 digs for fourth double-double of her career. Junior Sarah Rumely added a double-double match of her own with 33 assists and 12 digs. Junior BriAnne Sauer paced the UK defense with 20 scoops, but the Wildcats managed just nine blocks on the night well off-their season average. Freshman Becky Pavan added 10 kills and a team-high three blocks. Sophomore Lauren Rapp pitched in with nine kills and eight digs.
The Blue and White hit .174 for the match the lowest of the season. Florida attacked at .202 clip, and had three players register double-digit kill efforts.
Kentucky came out of the break down two sets, and saved the match with a dominating 25-16 victory. The Wildcats grabbed an early 3-2 lead it would never relinquish. Mendoza led the attack with five kills, as the team hit .219 in the set. Sauer was also huge in this set, tallying seven digs in the frame.
In the fourth set, Kentucky opened the scoring thanks to an attacking error by the Gators. Kentucky would once again claim an early lead and never look back. A kill by sophomore Lauren Rapp gave the visitors a 3-2 advantage and they would roll to force the fifth set. Mendoza, Pavan and junior Brooke Bartek all had three kills in the frame. Rumely dished out 10 assists, and the Wildcats turned back two Florida attacking errors.
An attacking error by the home squad gave Kentucky the early lead in the fifth and deciding set. However, Florida would immediately go on a four-to-one run and grab the lead for good. Behind a crowd over 2,000 fans the Gators rallied for a 15-8 victory.
Kentucky is back in action on Sunday, when they travel to Columbia, S.C., to take on South Carolina. Match time is slated for a 1:30 p.m. start.
Complete coverage of the UK volleyball team can be found at UKathletics.com.